Does Globalisation Reward Education? Evidence for Mexico (with Ingrid Bleynat)
Within Latin America, Mexico stands out as an open, highly globalized economy. Today foreign trade amounts to 78% of GDP, with manufactures representing 17% of the total, compared to the region’s respective averages of 46% and 13%. Moreover, in recent decades, Mexico has also seen a significant improvement in the educational attainment of its population, with the proportion of people with complete secondary degrees growing from 21% to 25%, and those with college degrees increasing from 11% to 18%. In this chapter we use data from the Mexican Labor Survey (ENOE) and the Input-Output Matrix to explore the interplay between these two trends and, in particular, to assess whether employment in globalised sectors has rewarded human capital accumulation in the period between 2005 and 2019. Following a modified Mincer approach we find that the skill premia in globalized sectors have shown a secular downward trend for both male and female workers, and that the premia for college and upper secondary education have been consistently lower than in non-globalized sectors. Globalization does not, therefore, appear to reward education. While these trends are consistent with a reduction in income inequality we should not lose sight of what is driving them: in both globalized and non-globalized sectors the incomes of workers with primary or lower secondary education have remained stagnant, whereas those for people with higher secondary education or college degrees have gone down significantly.
Regional comparisons of intergenerational social mobility: the importance of positional mobility. (Working Paper version available here )
In this paper, I show that the decomposition of intergenerational persistence indicators into their structural and positional components offers a clearer understanding of the determinants of the heterogeneity in subnational mobility rates. The crucial element for the separate analysis of positional and structural mobility is the use of regionally defined instead of nationally defined quantiles. This constitutes a departure from the current consensus in the estimations of mobility rates at the subnational level in economics. Using the Mexican case as an example, I show that there are no significant differences across the country’s regions in terms of positional mobility. This contrast with the existing results and their interpretations, particularly regarding intergenerational mobility in the south region of the country. This highlights the importance of incorporating positional measures into the battery of tools used for intranational analysis.
A Land of Unequal Chances: Social Mobility Across Mexican Regions. (with Miles Corak) (Working Paper version available here )
Using a new data set, I estimate the patterns of social mobility in Mexico and its regions, contributing to the growing literature on regional social mobility patterns. I identify that although Mexico is a country with high levels of intergenerational rank persistence, thus low levels of social mobility, there is substantial variability across its regions. While 35 out of 100 individuals born in the bottom quintile of the household asset distribution and in the South of the country experience upward mobility, twice as large a proportion of those born in the bottom quintile but in Mexico City experience the same type of mobility. Controlling for multiple characteristics at the household and neighborhood levels, I find a penalization of 12 percentiles in terms of upward mobility against individuals born in the South, with respect the rest of the country, and a boost of 10 percentiles for those with origin in Mexico City.
Desigualdad de oportunidades en Nuevo León, México. (with Roberto Vélez-Grajales)
En este artículo, utilizamos una novedosa fuente de información sobre las condiciones económicas de origen y actuales de la población de Nuevo León en 2021 (ESRU-EMOVI NL) para estimar por primera vez la cota inferior de la magnitud de la desigualdad de oportunidades de una entidad federativa mexicana. A partir de un índice de recursos económicos y usando el criterio ex-ante de desigualdad de oportunidades, encontramos una cota inferior que representa 35% de la desigualdad en recursos económicos en el estado. Los principales contribuyentes a la desigualdad de oportunidades en el estado son la desigualdad en los recursos económicos de origen y la educación de los padres. Esto es consistente con los hallazgos a nivel nacional. Sin embargo, a diferencia de estos y en una mayor proporción, las desigualdades asociadas al tono de piel de las personas contribuye con 5% de la desigualdad de oportunidades observada.
Unequal gradients: Sex, skin tone, and intergenerational economic mobility. (with Roberto Vélez-Grajales and Gastón Yalonetzky) (Working paper version available here)
We study how the intersection between skin tone and sex shapes intergenerational mobility of economic resources in Mexico. Using two recent social mobility surveys, we estimate the rank persistence and transition matrices by sex combined with skin tone groups. First, we find no differences in intergenerational mobility patterns between light-skin men and women. Second, the colorist mobility pattern observed in previous literature affects men and women differently. Namely, while women of intermediate and dark-skin tonalities have a lower expected rank than their light-skin peers, only men of the darkest tonalities suffer from the same penalization. Thirdly, women of intermediate and darker skin tones have lower persistence rates at the top of the distribution of economic resources than men of the same skin tonality.
Modeling the Learning Impacts of Educational Disruptions in the Short and Long-run. (available here)
This paper proposes a framework for analyzing the short and long-run effects of temporary educational disruptions on children’s learning progression. The framework explicitly models continuous parental investments, filling a gap in the literature related to explicit models of learning progression and acquisition. The model also considers economic resources as part of the resources employed by parents to mitigate the effects of a temporary shock in instruction, expanding previous work by Neidhöffer, Lustig, and Tommasi (2021). With this model, I estimate the potential effects of the instructional disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico. The estimates suggest that the potential persistent loss in learning with respect to the counterfactual represents 47% of the learning acquired during a usual school year.
Stratification Economics in the Land of Persistent Inequalities. (with Paloma Villagómez-Ornelas) (Previous working paper version available here)
Stratification economics has emerged as a field that puts historically and institutionally determined intergroup hierarchies at the forefront of distributive analysis. However, most of the existing theoretical and empirical literature has focused on studying the US stratification regime, limiting the potential application of this analytical framework to other geographies. This paper applies the theoretical framework of stratification economics to analyze the Mexican distributive regime. In the process, we show that expanding the regional focus of stratification economics requires incorporating several insights from other traditions of stratification analysis. Furthermore, we show that a stratification economics approach overcomes several pitfalls of more traditional approaches to the analysis of the Mexican distributive regime, such as the human capital approach that anchored several of the public policy interventions deployed at the beginning of the XXIst century. In the final section, we argue that this interdisciplinary exercise can achieve a complete understanding of distributional dynamics in societies with persistent inequalities.